When I was one year old my mother fed me my first tablespoon of molasses and tehina. The thick, dark and luxuriant molasses blended beautifully with the creamy, sandy-coloured tehina.
We used to buy our molasses – “black honey”as it is called in Egypt – in small earthenware urns from vendors who came to Cairo from the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena. The famous factories which manufacture sugar and molasses from sugar cane are located there, in the city of Naga Hammadi.
Molasses and tehina (photo: maureenabood)
The molasses we brought from Qena was of perfect-medium consistency, unlike the generic brands that are now sold in plastic or glass jars in supermarket chains. It was different and, I like to believe, better.
My life long passion for the heavenly combination of molasses and tehina started then.
Molasses and tehina
What I didn’t know at the time however, was that this typically Egyptian blend of molasses and tehina made for excellent health food: a super-food to be exact.
As I learnt more about nutrition I discovered that it is not only slender sprigs of parsley that carry health benefits; the combined antioxidant properties of iron rich molasses and vitamin filled tehina can actually boost your immune system…and morale.
A tablespoon of pure undiluted tehina is around 90 calories.
Tehina (photo: masdar)
A tablespoon of molasses contains approximately 50 calories of sugar, amounting to almost half the recommended daily allowance of sugar for healthy adults. However, this is offset by the fact that a tablespoon of molasses is also very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. More importantly, a tablespoon of molasses is rich in nutritive minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamin B6.
The genius of molasses and tehina is that when eaten together, they are an unrivalled powerhouse of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Like molasses, the sesame seed based tehina is rich in memory-boosting, inflammation-fighting and heart-healthy manganese and copper. Tehina is also rich in omega3, omega6 and vitamin B1. It can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
High-fibre tehina is low glycemic, meaning that it causes sugar to be released slowly in the blood stream. This can help temper any sharp rises in blood sugar that could have been induced by the molasses.
On the other hand, the molasses’ sugar content makes for a great energy booster that can help alleviate fatigue, especially when caused by anaemia, due to molasses’ rich iron and mineral base.
I can squarely put molasses and tehina in the same league with – what I like to describe – as the slightly decadent, but healthy comfort foods.
These foods are beautiful to look at and delicious to eat, like sweet potatoes or pumpkins. Being rich in vitamins and minerals, healthy for the heart and soothing to frayed nerves, they also provide more than empty calories.
Eaten in moderation at breakfast or in the evening, molasses and tehina will double as an energy booster and a comfort food.
It is a perfect source of iron for vegetarians or those suffering anaemia.
Here is the recipe for tehina and molasses:
Pour molasses in a dish.
Add tehina, undiluted without any dressing.
Dip with hot pita, “baladi” bread or any available bread.
Eat in moderation.